Sunday, January 16, 2011

music lesson #1

I spent the past few days at OCDA (Oklahoma Choral Directors Association) all-state.  2 rounds of auditions, entry forms, collecting money, reserving buses, reserving rooms, checking into the hotel with school POs ... those are the not fun things about it.  Once everyone/everything is settled, it is relaxing.  The students rehearse all day with wonderful conductors and we get to observe.  Of course, a lot of teachers, like myself, spent a chunk of the weekend on work; but along with that, I made some progress on one of my pieces that I've been working on for about 3 years now.  It was nice. :)

The entire weekend culminates in one concert on Saturday afternoon.  The 3 groups that performed were the JH treble choir, JH mixed choir, and HS Jazz Ensemble.  It was a gorgeous concert except that one very important thing was missing ...


If you've never heard this term, today is the day.  Everyone needs to know how to behave in a formal concert setting.  No, it doesn't matter how you were brought up.  If you don't know, you wait, you watch others, you observe.

The mixed chorus sang a beautiful Requiem and there was a silent pause before the last phrase of the song.  What did some choose to do?  Clap.  The song was not over!!  At the end of the Requiem was a measure of rest with a fermata.  That means that there is supposed to be time at the end of the song where there is nothing but silence.  Silence.  The audience began clapping immediately after the last chord, leaving the song incomplete and almost ruining the solitude of the moment.  Clapping in the wrong place does a few things:
1.  It offends the conductor
2.  It offends the singers/performers
3.  It offends the composer
4.  It demonstrates ignorance

When the last chord is played or the last note is sung, do not assume it is time to erupt in applause.  You must wait.  Until when?  Until the conductors hands are down all the way and he/she is no longer conducting.  It almost felt as though part of the audience was competing to see who could clap first.

Regardless of the poor concert etiquette, the 3 performances were amazing.  There were many chilling moments in this concert.  So, way to go, OCDA all-state students.  I don't really love to just rant about things, but I had to get this one out.  Thanks for reading. :)

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